English Subject Leaders: Mrs. Preston and Miss Biln
We believe that a high-quality English curriculum should develop our children’s love of reading, writing and talk. We want to inspire all children to be confident in all areas of the English curriculum because a secure basis in literacy skills will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society. We intend for all pupils to learn to read and write fluently so that they are able to access all areas of the curriculum and be able to demonstrate what they have learnt. Through reading and exploring quality literature, all pupils will develop their knowledge of the world across the curriculum for information and pleasure.
We strive to create an environment that will promote writing. In order to ensure that all children learn to be confident writers, we encourage children to write creatively whilst teaching key writing skills explicitly and systematically. We nurture a culture where children take pride in their writing and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts for different audiences and purposes. Using a variety of stimuli, children are motivated and encouraged to see the beauty in words and the art of language.
How do we teach writing?
We use a model for teaching writing that is personalised for Emmbrook Junior School and is based upon high expectations for all. Teachers immerse all children in the craft of writing, exposing them to high-quality exemplar texts. We ensure progression in complexity of tasks and expectations year on year by following the National Curriculum. We ensure that the children experience writing in a range of styles and genres and purposes throughout their time at our school. Writing is, where possible, linked to Learning Journey themes and class books to promote engagement and to make writing tasks relevant. We also provide stimulating first-hand experiences to inspire writing such as trips, stories, videos and drama. Children write for real audiences and are taught to engage with them through appropriate structure and vocabulary. We build stamina for writing by providing opportunities to write independently and for extended periods both within English lessons and throughout the curriculum and for different PATs (purposes, audiences and text types).
Writing units follow an agreed process which involves:
- Analysing and deconstructing an example text
- Explicit teacher modelling
- Discrete teaching of key transcription, composition and vocabulary, punctuation and grammar skills
- Planning and drafting
- Shared writing
- Opportunities to apply skills independently in a different context
- Editing and reviewing their own and others work
Understanding how to spell correctly is important in supporting children to organise their thinking around language. Knowing how to apply spelling rules and recognising key words is empowering for children. We use the 2014 National Curriculum as a guideline as to which spelling rules, patterns and exception words should be taught in which year group and follow the No Nonsense Spelling Scheme.
We place value on children taking pride and care over their work. The development of handwriting skills is vital in enabling pupils to write quickly and fluently, and for them to take pride in the presentation of their work throughout the curriculum.
Through our Reading Curriculum, we inspire an appreciation of rich and varied literary heritage (both modern and traditional) and embed a culture of reading for pleasure. There is a pathway of both coverage and progression that ensures children are given the opportunities to make links between books as well as build upon prior knowledge and skills to add depth of understanding. The children have opportunities to explore the intricacies of a quality text through purposeful discussion where they are encouraged to voice their opinions and pose questions. Comprehension of a book or text is a fundamental part of reading therefore we maintain a focus on teaching children how to retrieve, sequence, summarise, deduce and infer. One of the key inhibitors to comprehending a text is our inability to understand the individual words so we spend time teaching new vocabulary explicitly.
We use a reading programme called Accelerated Reader (AR) to rigorously measure and monitor children’s progress and to motivate them to read regularly and widely. Using AR provides children with the opportunity to apply and improve the knowledge and skills they have developed in lessons.
Every child completes a termly STAR reading test on a computer which is a computer-generated adaptive test, where the questions continually adjust to the child’s responses, getting harder or easier accordingly. The data gives us a reading age, standardised score and Zone of Proximal Development for each child, as well as personalised information about their strengths and areas for development within reading.
What is a Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD)?
The Zone of Proximal Development is defined by Vygotsky (1978) as “the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers.”
The books in our school library have been grouped according to their ZPD and related book level (as recommended by AR). The ZPD range aims to challenge a child without causing frustration or loss of motivation.
All children will have access to a wide range of books which are suitable to their reading level. To ensure children experience success from the start, they will begin each term by taking books at the lower end of their ZPD range and then selecting a slightly more challenging book each time.
Children choose their own books to read, rather than having one assigned to them. This makes reading a much more enjoyable experience as they can choose books that are interesting to them within their ZPD range.
Each reading book has a personalised label on the inside cover which shows important information. This is an example of a book label.
B.L. = book level. A child uses their ZPD range to decide which books are appropriate for them to read. A child with a ZPD range of 2.8 – 4.0 would be able to read ‘Air Raid’ (see the example label) and it will be slightly challenging for them as it is towards the top end of their ZPD range.
Points = points value based on the difficulty of the book and the number of words.
Just because a child can read the words in a book does not mean the content is appropriate. The interest level of the material is also be considered. Lower Years interest level (LY) (5-8 yrs old); Middle years interest level (MY) (9-13 yrs old); Upper Years interest level (UY) (14+ yrs old).
What are the AR Quizzes?
When children finish reading their book, they take a short online quiz independently on the computer in school. Passing the quiz is an indication that they have understood what they have read and supports comprehension and retrieval practice. (We aim for all quizzes to be taken within 48 hours of finishing a book.) The children are able to earn points for each AR quiz that they do. For quizzes with 3, 5 or 10 questions, a child needs to pass a quiz with a score of 60% or higher to earn points. For quizzes with 20 questions, a child needs to pass with a score of 70% or higher to earn points.
There are two main types of multiple-choice online quizzes which give children and staff instant feedback based on the quiz results, and is used to help set goals and direct ongoing reading practice.
- Reading Practice Quizzes
- Vocabulary Practice Quizzes.
If a child does not do well on the quiz, a member of staff may help your child:
- Choose another book that is more appropriate.
- Ask more probing questions as your child reads and before your child takes a quiz.
- Pair your child with another student, or even have the book read to your child.
How much time should a child spend reading?
As with anything, performance improves with practice. At Emmbrook Junior School, we encourage children to read at home for at least 10-15 minutes a minimum of five times a week. Parental support in this is much appreciated. According to research, children who read at least 20 minutes a day, with a 90% success rate on AR quizzes see the greatest gains.
How can parents help?
Encourage your child to read with you and/or discuss what they have read. A child may be able to decode and read the words but may not have understood it, so asking questions about the book is important. Reading with your child, no matter what the age, is an important part of developing good reading skills and a lifelong love of reading.
Try to either read TO or WITH your child every day as well as encouraging independent reading.
If you would like to find more books within your child’s ZPD range, then here is a link to Accelerated Reader Bookfinder: https://www.arbookfind.co.uk/UserType.aspx?RedirectURL=%2fdefault.aspx Simply go onto the ‘advanced search’ option and type in your child’s ZPD. Remember to indicate what interest level you are looking for too! You will then be able to browse from a selection of books perfect for your child’s current level – ideal for gifts or to restock their bookshelves at home.
Quality talk underpins our entire English curriculum. We believe that all children have the right to a high-quality oracy education, enabling them to develop the key communication skills and confidence needed to succeed in all stages of life. Children need the vocabulary and non-verbal cues to say what they want to say and communicate with others effectively. In an ever-evolving world, it is fundamental that all our children are able to make their voices heard so that they are empowered to express themselves as active citizens. Our teachers create purposeful opportunities to harness oracy in order to elevate learning at all levels.
Maths Subject Leaders: Mr Fox
Maths lessons at Emmbrook Junior School provide a range of stimulating challenges (accessible to all) based upon real-life contexts. Lessons are enhanced by structured pupil talk and are supported by concrete manipulatives, pictorial representations and abstract workings. Children have the opportunity to investigate new areas together as a class, before engaging on their own activities. We discretely teach and practise times tables and arithmetic skills as well as apply them in context. Whole class and individual same-day interventions help move learning on and prevent misconceptions developing. At the end of each activity, children reflect on their knowledge and understanding, which helps inform the content of the next lesson.
Power Maths is a curriculum mastery programme designed to spark curiosity and excitement in children and nurture their confidence in Maths. It is carefully aligned to the White Rose Maths progression and schemes of learning and has been written by leading mastery experts from around the world. Power Maths is recommended by the UK’s Department for Education for use in primary schools and combines interactive teaching tools with high quality textbooks and practice books.
Each lesson follows a set structure which supports and scaffolds the children’s learning whilst providing appropriate challenge and extension opportunities. We also hold regular ‘Maths mop-ups’ throughout each week where teachers can address misconceptions and deepen understanding further.
This is the arithmetic based warm-up which reinforces prior learning.
We get the children to solve a problem that aims to generate curiosity. They may use manipulatives to help them understand the maths and explain their method.
The next stage encourages children to share the methods they have used to solve the problem they have just been posed.
We use the approach of “I do, we do, you do”, where the teacher models first, and then the children apply the knowledge they have just learned in a series of problems that encourage paired talk and independent thinking.
Children are then ready for some independent practice in their work books.
The final question helps the children evaluate whether they have understood the key concept and small step that they have been trying to master in the lesson.
The CPA Approach
Through Power Maths, we use a CPA approach to teach Maths which is highly effective in supporting children to develop and deepen their mathematical understanding.
Concrete – Otherwise known as the ‘doing’ stage! We provide children with concrete objects and manipulatives to help them model problems and to bring abstract problems to life. Examples of manipulatives include cubes, coins, shapes and fraction cards.
Pictorial – Otherwise known as the ‘seeing’ stage! The children build upon the concrete approach by using pictorial representations. These representations can then be used to reason and solve problems. This stage encourages children to make a connection between the physical object they just handled and the abstract pictures, diagrams or models that represent the objects from the problem. Drawing a model can make it easier for children to grasp difficult abstract concepts. Bar models and part-part-whole models are particularly useful.
Abstract – Otherwise known as the ‘symbolic’ stage. Children will not progress to this stage until they have demonstrated that they have a solid understanding of the concrete and pictorial stages first. The abstract stage involves the teacher introducing mathematical concepts through numbers, notation, and mathematical symbols.
Science Subject Leader: Mrs A Jones
We aim to provide our pupils with a broad and exciting curriculum which inspires inquisitive thinking and exploration by focusing on scientific skills as well as knowledge. It is imperative that we give the next generation the necessary tools to contribute to our ever-evolving understanding of the world. We believe that children should be encouraged to challenge ideas about the world around them, therefore questioning and critical thinking are key elements of Science at Emmbrook Junior School. Children are taught knowledge, methodology and application of science using real life contexts. We continuously build upon prior knowledge and understanding to allow children to rationally design, predict, implement and explain investigative science. Lessons are underpinned by opportunities to do practical activities. This hands-on approach – coupled with established theory – encourages a sense of wonder and curiosity about the world they live in.
The National Curriculum for Science
The National Curriculum provides a structure and skills progression for the Science curriculum taught throughout the school, which is linked, where possible, to the half termly Learning Journey, providing a creative and balanced programme of study.
- develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics
- develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them
- be equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.
PE Subject Leader: Mr. Fisher
Computing and ICT Subject Leader – Mr Usher
At Emmbrook Junior School, we prepare our children to be ‘lifelong learners’ with the confidence and ability to face the challenge of a rapidly developing and changing technological world. ‘Computational thinking’ is a skill that children must be taught if they are to be ready for the workplace and able to participate effectively in our digital world. Our Computing curriculum has been developed to equip our pupils with the foundational skills, knowledge and understanding of computing they will need for the rest of their lives. Our learning environment contributes to the development of these skills and ensures that children have access to suitable, up-to-date equipment and emerging technologies.
We draw a distinction between ICT (Information Communication Technology) and Computing. ICT is used to enhance and extend children’s learning across the whole curriculum whilst developing motivation and social skills. The Computing curriculum is designed to equip children with the knowledge and the understanding that they will need to be able to use their computational thinking skills and design and create their own digital content. They will learn how computers and computer systems work, they will design and build programs, develop their ideas using technology and create a range of content.
Purpose of study:
A high-quality computing education equips pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. Computing has deep links with mathematics, science, and design and technology, and provides insights into both natural and artificial systems. The core of computing is computer science, in which pupils are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work, and how to put this knowledge to use through programming. Building on this knowledge and understanding, pupils are equipped to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content. Computing also ensures that pupils become digitally literate – able to use, and express themselves and develop their ideas through, information and communication technology – at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.
At EJS Children will learn:
- To program objects
- To create, manipulate and store digital content
- How to search effectively online and stay safe in a digital world
- How to create web content, using code
- To design and develop their own programs and applications
At Emmbrook Junior School, we want the children to have as much exposure to learning digital technologies as possible, whilst maintaining a safe environment both in the classroom and online. We ensure that children are aware of the possible risks when using the internet through a rolling programme of assemblies; specific lessons (from our scheme of work – Purple Mash) as well as making sure the rules are regularly reinforced in context and displayed in each classroom area. We will also share potential online dangers as described in Teaching Online Safety in school.
PSHE Subject Leader – Mrs L Brant
At Emmbrook Junior School, we teach Personal, Social, Health Education (PSHE) through ‘Jigsaw’. ’Jigsaw’ is a progressive scheme of work (which we tailor to the needs of our pupils) which aims to prepare children for life, helping them understand and value who they are and understand how they relate to other people. We use a mindful approach to teach PSHE to support children’s well-being and underpins their personal development. In lessons, we support children’s development as human beings; empower them with a voice and help equip them for life and learning. We include the statutory ‘Relationships and Sex Education’ and ‘Citizenship’ within our whole-school PSHE Programme and ensure that we build in opportunities for this fundamental knowledge to be revisited at key points throughout their KS2 education.
The children at Emmbrook Junior School learn British Sign Language (BSL) as their Modern Foreign Language because we have a resource base within school for pupils who are deaf.
Not only does this provide the opportunity to learn an additional language, but it also upskills up both staff and pupils to attain the equivalent of BSL level 1 standard over a period of three years. Learning BSL is a valuable skill as it helps children to develop their cognitive and multi-tasking skills, memory, and aids their understanding of the English language through comparisons of grammar and sentence structure. By the time the children move on to secondary school, they will be confident communicating using a wide bank of signs and phrases in BSL and be able to hold simple conversations with their deaf peers. They will also have an awareness of Deaf culture. Learning BSL broadens pupil’s awareness of the inclusive society in which we live. Through learning BSL, we can celebrate the diversity in our school community but in the wider world too.
Geography Subject Leader – Mrs L Bendall
Our Geography curriculum is designed to develop children’s curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Children will investigate a range of places, both in Britain and abroad, to help develop their knowledge and understanding of diverse places, people, environments and processes. We are committed to providing children with opportunities to investigate and make enquiries about their local area of Emmbrook, Wokingham and Berkshire, so that they can develop a real sense of who they are, their heritage and what makes our local area unique and special. As active future citizens, they will understand the impact their choices will have on their locality and the global community.
History Subject Leader – Mrs. Hatherley
At Emmbrook Junior School, the teaching of history is woven throughout our Learning Journeys to enable all children to understand how the past has shaped us and how it will also shape our future. We ignite curiosity and foster awe and wonder in order to develop a passion and respect of past events across the globe. Using enquiry skills, such as critical thinking, the children weigh up evidence and generate arguments to gain perspective on our position in history and a chronological understanding of how the world around us has grown.
Art and Design Subject Leader – Mrs. Tinson
Children explore Art in an inclusive and nurturing environment with high quality teaching and learning. The children explore opportunities that are both inspiring and challenging, they experiment, invent and create their own works of art. Art lessons will equip them with the knowledge and skills to develop and create their own pieces, based on the national curriculum statements, which are clearly linked to the year group topics. The children have opportunities to reflect and improve their work, with a positive mind set. They will learn how art and design reflect and impact on national culture, history and economy. By the end of their journey through EJS, all children will have worked collaboratively and independently to produce art-work to a high standard and have the confidence to continue developing their life-long artistic skills.
Design and Technology Subject Leader – Mrs. Tinson
DT is an empowering and practical subject which promotes children’s self-confidence and builds their resilience. Using creativity and imagination, pupils design and make products that solve real and relevant problems, developing their problem-solving skills. Children are encouraged to develop positive views of their work and that of others. Through their endeavours they will: increase their ability to work independently and collaboratively and use discussion which will support them on their journey through life. They will develop their skills in planning, constructing and evaluating products in line with the national curriculum. They will be equipped with the knowledge and skills they require to develop their own products which are clearly linked to year group topics. These will involve a range of materials and equipment to cover each area of DT. Children will learn how High-quality design and technology education makes an essential contribution to national culture, history and economy.
Music Subject Leader: Mr J Usher & Miss R Scales
Music lessons at Emmbrook Junior School enable all pupils to learn the basic theory of music as well as to appreciate, enjoy and perform music in a positive and nurturing environment. This empowers and encourages them to develop a life-long love of the subject which they will be able to transfer and apply when appreciating a genre of music; recommending their choices to others or learning to play an instrument. By giving them the tools to recognise and appreciate the world through the eyes of music, we hope that our pupils will grow into reflective and well-rounded individuals who are not afraid to explore, create and perform music of their own for themselves and others to enjoy.
At Emmbrook Junior School, we use ‘Charanga Musical School’ as our scheme which fully supports the requirements of the National Curriculum and helps us deliver an integrated, practical, exploratory and child-led approach to musical learning.
Charanga is ideal for specialist and non-specialist teachers and provides lesson plans, assessment, clear progression, and engaging and exciting whiteboard resources to support every lesson. The interrelated dimensions of music weave through the units to encourage the development of musical skills as the learning progresses, through listening and appraising, differing musical activities (including creating and exploring) and performing.
Units of Work enable children to understand musical concepts through a repetition-based approach to learning. Learning about the same musical concept through different musical activities enables a more secure, deeper learning and mastery of musical skills. Over time, children can both develop new musical skills and concepts, and re-visit established musical skills and concepts. Repeating a musical skill doesn’t necessarily mean their progress is slowing down or their development is moving backwards! It’s just shifting within the spiral. Mastery means both a deeper understanding of musical skills and concepts and learning something new.
The Structure of each Unit:
Each Unit of Work comprises of the strands of musical learning which correspond with the national curriculum for music:
- Listening and Appraising
- Musical Activities
- Warm-up Games
- Optional Flexible Games
- Playing instruments
- Performing and Sharing with an audience
Musical learning at Emmbrook Junior School is built around the interrelated dimensions of music:
Pitch, Tempo, Rhythm. Dynamics, Timbre, Texture, Structure and Notation.
RE Subject Leader: Miss A Felton
Through our Religious Education (RE) curriculum, we aim to ensure all children develop their knowledge and understanding of the traditions and beliefs of the major religions represented in our school community and the wider world. We encourage the children to appreciate and respect different cultures and help them to recognise and challenge prejudice.